Can you identify this bug? Possible grain mites- lost two chickens this summer.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by taylynnp, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. taylynnp

    taylynnp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know it's not the greatest picture, but it has a several very thin legs coming out from the body. It reminds me a little of a spider. It's very light colored, kind of a straw colored- beige. This is big from what I understand most mites look like.

    This is about the 6th time I've found one of these bugs on my hands/arms after feeding. The first time I ever saw one on me was a few months back when I picked up new feed bags at the bulk order drop off.

    Could this bug be in the feed? I can't find a pic of grain mites to compare.


    I think we have a mite type problem but I don't see real evidence on the chickens. I keep checking around their vents and under the wings. Most of them shake their heads a lot though.

    This summer I've lost two of my small chickens (one at 13 weeks and another at almost 14.5 of age) from seemingly heat stroke. But I keep wondering if mites are weakening the smaller/low pecking order birds so that they were more susceptible. It's been over 3 weeks since the last one died.

    I've put out extra water dishes and electrolytes in the shady areas they frequent during the day as they free range from morning to night. Their coop is in the shade.

    Gave them new bedding with DE and Garden & Poultry dust, dusted the chickens twice with wood ash/DE and then with poultry dust. I've sprayed their coop with neem oil. I wondered if they had ear mites so I put coconut oil in their ears once. But they are still shaking their heads. It's going on 3 weeks now.

    We were going to send some to freezer camp so I held off on dusting again with the poultry dust until that was done. It took me 3 hours to dust 19 chickens. The flock is down to 13 so it should be more a little more manageable to start dusting them again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  2. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like it could be a grain mite. Look closely at your feed, containers, perches.
    Have you ever noticed mites after handling the birds or just the feed?
     
  3. taylynnp

    taylynnp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2013
    Middle Tennessee

    Just after handling the feed or feed pans.

    Would grain mites affect the chickens? The head shaking seems like it could be bugs on them.
     
  4. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grain mites are an annoyance that wastes feed.

    The chickens would find them uncomfortable the same way you do (head shaking) but grain mites do not feed on chickens or humans.

    I had grains mites once. They were on a bag of feed I just brought home but had not gotten inside the bad. I sprayed the outside of the bag and surrounding area with Se7in. I dusted the inside of the bag and the bottom of my feed bins with food grade diatomaceous earth. I stopped the buggers before they could get started.

    I have limited experience with them but in your case, I would start a feed hygiene program. After each use, clean feeders and bins and apply DE. Also mix some DE with the feed.

    Hopefully someone can tell us more on how to eradicate them. I suspect you may need to use chemicals - but around feed you need to be careful.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Can you get a magnifying glass and count the legs? Gosh, that seems so big compared to the grain mites I've dealt with. I do agree though, your coming in contact with them in the context of the feed would suggest mites, but a more definitive ID might be worthwhile.
     
  6. taylynnp

    taylynnp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2013
    Middle Tennessee
    It is kind of big. I'll try to get one under a magnifying glass. When I feel something crawling on me, the impulse is to smoosh it. But I'll try!

    I feel like it might be the scratch grains that they are in. I don't have a lot of scratch left so maybe I should dump it out to go through what's left. Maybe discard the remaining just to get rid of the possible source. And then clean the feed shed and containers very thoroughly.

    Thanks for everyone's help. I'll update if I learn anything more.
     

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